Archive for July, 2012

Ice Gangsters – South Face of Mt Sealy

Steve Fortune and I climbed a new route on the south face of Mt Sealy over the weekend. Ice Gangsters follows the obvious gully on the left side of the face and tops out on the Sladden Glacier just below the final summit pyramid. The majority of the route is 50-60 degrees with three short 80 degree sections plus the final mixed step to the glacier, generally classic grade 4 climbing. A direct finish up the summit headwall via a corner system is possible, instead of going left, if the corner is iced up.

Its amazing that the south face of Sealy hasn’t seen more action, given the relatively easy access. Its a bit of a hike over Jamieson Saddle to the base, about 1500m height gain, but Steve and I made it over to our campsite in just over 4 hours on Friday night. We started climbing at about 6.30 the next morning and with good conditions were able to solo much of the route, making it to the glacier by lunchtime. We took the longer but easier option back to the village via Mueller Hut and got there at 4.30, making it an official day trip since we left the road at 4.30 the day before.

Apart from the easy access, the face is also 900m high so it packs in quite a lot of climbing for a weekend mission. And despite bony conditions elsewhere around Mt Cook NP at the moment, this face is in pretty good nic. Thoroughly recommended.

The south face of Mt Sealy and the line of Ice Gangsters. Photo taken in 2011 by Steve.

Steve powering up the slope to the second ice step (top centre of photo).

Jamie on the second ice step.

Steve climbing the final mixed step to the Sladden Glacier above.

Jamie being attacked by keas on the way back to Mueller Hut.